Former bookkeeper reacts to Texas school shooting, recalls stopping gunman at DeKalb school in 2013

DECATUR, Ga. — A former school bookkeeper, who is credited for stopping a mass shooting at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur in 2013, is reacting to the mass shooting in Texas.

Antoinette Tuff was on the phone with 911 that day as she was trying to calm 20-year-old Michael Hill, who walked into the school with a loaded AK-47.

“I cried all night and all morning,” said Antoinette Tuff.

Tuff was just like everyone who witnessed another mass shooting involving innocent people.

“I just wanted to pull my hair out. Somebody tell me this is not for real.”

But as the news started to come in, Tuff said it was real.

An 18-year-old walked into an elementary school in Texas and shot and killed multiple students and teachers.

“What happened to the innocent lives, he took yesterday? What happened to those mothers, who woke up this morning, and those dads who woke up this morning, and didn’t get an opportunity to see their babies?” Tuff said. “It’s not going to be OK. We are right back in the same place we were in, on August 20, 2013.”


Tuff said that’s the day her life changed forever.

Police said when Hill walked into the school he was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle with several magazines and ammunition.

Tuff saw Hill and convinced him not to shoot while calmly talking to both Hill and 911.

“Even though right now you feel that life is not worth living for, let me show you how I see you,” Tuff said. “On the inside, I was screaming, louder than loud. Screaming louder than loud, asking God do you see what I see? This young man, not only wanted to just take my life, the student lives that were there, but also his own life.”

“What do we do next?” That’s the million-dollar question Tuff is asking now. “What are we going to do that’s going to change, to help our children?

Tuff said years later, we’re dealing with another mass shooting at a school.

She said now is not the time to sit back and wait for the next one.

“We have to start having those conversations, but most importantly, we have to change some gun laws. It’s like you can go get a gun like you’re going to get a loaf of bread. That should never happen,” Tuff said.